What Could Cause Painful Sex?

Painful Sex Image

Is sexual intercourse painful for you? You are not alone. There are several reasons why you may be experiencing painful sex.

Some people may be embarrassed or ashamed to talk to anyone about sexual problems they may be experiencing. Knowing that you are not alone and talking to a medical professional may be the key to solving what is causing you pain during sex. There are several reasons that could cause pain during sex. The medical term used to describe painful sexual intercourse is dyspareunia. This refers to persistent or recurrent pain that occurs before, during, or after sex. 

Signs and Symptoms of Painful Sexual Intercourse

Some symptoms you may experience are pain during penetration, pain during thrusting, burning, aching, or throbbing sensations. These symptoms could be present before, during, or after sex. 

Causes of Painful Sexual Intercourse

There are several reasons why sex could be causing you pain ranging from structural anatomy to psychological concerns. Pain experienced during entry or penetration could be associated with:

  • Lack of Lubrication
  • Injury
  • Physical Trauma
  • Irritation
  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Vaginismus (involuntary spasms of the vaginal wall)
  • Structural Anatomy

The deep pain that occurs with thrusting or deep penetration is usually worse in certain body positions. Some causes of deep pain during sex include:

  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Uterine Prolapse
  • Retroverted Uterus
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Cystitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
  • Adenomyosis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Surgery (pelvic surgery)
  • Medical treatments (radiation, chemotherapy)

Emotions are an important factor affecting sexual intercourse and they can be linked with pain during sex. Some emotional factors to consider are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Stress
  • History of Sexual Abuse

Key Takeaways

If you are experiencing painful sexual intercourse, make an appointment to speak with your healthcare provider. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about sex with your doctor. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your pain and could include medication, lubrication, or therapy. Speak with your doctor today about painful sexual intercourse.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, contact us here today!


  1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, March 1). Painful intercourse (dyspareunia). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 15, 2022

Posted in: Women's Health

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